Signs of light at the end of the tunnel

Yesterday, we released the book-to-bill report for April for the North American PCB industry. While the year over year data was grim, there was a faint sign of light. Bookings and shipments were almost at parity (.98). A ratio below 1 generally suggests that companies are shipping more than they are receiving in new orders, which is not positive for the future.

In Denny’s comments in the press release, he said “Rigid PCB orders have climbed above sales for the first time in over a year.”  Someone from the media asked us how Denny could say that when the book-to-bill was still below parity.

The answer from IPC Director of Market Research Sharon Starr was that “The book-to-bill ratio is a rolling three-month average of bookings and shipments. Therefore, it is still below parity because bookings were less than shipments during February and March. In April, bookings exceeded shipments, but the totals for the three month period still put shipments slightly ahead of bookings. The fact that bookings exceeded shipments in April caused the notable increase in the book-to-bill ratio in April.”

It’s been a very grim year so far. Perhaps Spring has finally come to the industry, just as it finally has in Chicago. I am completely ready to leave the figurative winter behind as well.

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